Mumbai: Citizens' Groups Express Concerns Over Aadhaar Data Linkage To NPR, NRC

Mumbai: Citizens' Groups Express Concerns Over Aadhaar Data Linkage To NPR, NRC

"The government was working ‘behind our backs’ to implement its CAA-NPR-NRC agenda."

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 12:48 AM IST
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A demonstrator holding the national flag during a Tiranga rally to protest against CAA, NRC and NPR in Hyderabad. | ANI Photo

Citizens’ groups have raised concerns over the linking of personal data from the Aadhaar database for preparation of the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The worries arise from the fact that Aadhaar is not a mandatory document and using its data to determine citizenship for NPR and NRC will put people without the card at the risk of being declared non-citizens, the groups said.

Legal way to collect data for NPR, NRC through a public enumeration

At a meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, the groups said that the legal way to collect data for NPR and NRC was through a public enumeration similar to the National Census, but the fact that the registers already have data on a majority of the country’s residents meant that the government has surreptitiously linked it to Aadhaar data.

Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who spoke at the meeting via a video call, said that the country’s apex court has said that an Aadhaar card is needed if a person wants to access government schemes and subsidies.

The Central government’s NPR, NRC, Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), and National Identity Card projects could make marginalised groups like migrant workers, minority groups, and unlettered people vulnerable, speakers said. They also raised legal issues about NPR data obtained without informed consent. After protests against the CAB in 2019-20, the government has been collecting data for the registers without giving families and individuals a chance to authenticate the information, they said.   

"Govt working ‘behind our backs’ to implement CAA-NPR-NRC agenda"

Javed Anand from the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy said that while the social and mainstream media streamed images of riots in different parts of the country, like Haldwani and Mira Road, the government was working ‘behind our backs’ to implement its CAA-NPR-NRC agenda.

Questions were also raised about the recent data collection done by the Maharashtra government to identify Marathas who have been demanding inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes so that they can access reservations in education institutions and government jobs.

Dolphy Dsouza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, said that the survey has created fears that citizens are being profiled on the basis of religion. Dsouza said that the methodology of the survey was opaque, with enumerators asking Christians, who had nothing to do with the survey, about their religious conversion and property details. In many cases, housing colonies did not allow enumerators into areas that hardly had any Maratha residents, but the data collection through an application-based software has created fears about religious profiling, said Dsouza. 

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